Costa Hawkins

The Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act is a powerful state law enacted in 1995 that places limits on rent control.

Buildings Built After 1995 Are Excluded

Costa Hawkins established that residential buildings with a certificate of occupancy issued after February 1, 1995 could not be protected by rent control. This means that all “new” construction is automatically excluded from rent control protections with some limited exceptions.

Single Family Homes, Condominiums Excluded From Rent Control

In addition to excluding new construction from rent control, Costa Hawkins also created exclusions for single family homes and condominiums. Tenants already living in these units as of passage of the ordinance continue to have rent control however. There are also exceptions for units converted to condos.

Original Occupants and Vacancy De-Control

Costa Hawkins allow landlords to raise the rent on an otherwise rent controlled unit to market rate when the “last original occupant” no longer lives in the unit.

Original occupants are those that took possession of a unit with the express consent of the landlord at the time that the base rent for the unit was first established with respect to the vacant unit. The original occupant doesn’t have to be named on the lease but must be able to show they moved in at the same time as the named person on the lease. A “Subsequent occupant” means an individual who became an occupant of a rental unit while the rental unit was occupied by at least one original occupant.

Costa Hawkins Rent Increase Notices

If you’re a tenant who’s received notice of this type of petition, it’s not a lost cause. Depending on your relationship with the landlord, the length of your tenancy, and other factors, you may still have a right to rent control. A tenant’s attorney can advise you on the validity of the landlord’s petition, and possibly represent you at the Rent Board. ​​​



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